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eXistenZ (1999)

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A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged.

Director:

David Cronenberg
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Popularity
4,297 ( 512)
3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jennifer Jason Leigh ... Allegra Geller
Jude Law ... Ted Pikul
Ian Holm ... Kiri Vinokur
Willem Dafoe ... Gas
Don McKellar ... Yevgeny Nourish
Callum Keith Rennie ... Hugo Carlaw
Christopher Eccleston ... Seminar Leader
Sarah Polley ... Merle
Robert A. Silverman ... D'Arcy Nader
Oscar Hsu ... Chinese Waiter
Kris Lemche ... Noel Dichter
Vik Sahay ... Male Assistant
Kirsten Johnson ... Female Assistant
James Kirchner James Kirchner ... Landry
Balázs Koós Balázs Koós ... Male Volunteer
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Storyline

Allegra Geller, the leading game designer in the world, is testing her new virtual reality game, eXistenZ with a focus group. As they begin, she is attacked by a fanatic assassin employing a bizarre organic gun. She flees with a young marketing trainee, Ted Pikul, who is suddenly assigned as her bodyguard. Unfortunately, her pod, an organic gaming device that contains the only copy of the eXistenZ game program, is damaged. To inspect it, she talks Ted into accepting a gameport in his own body so he can play the game with her. The events leading up to this, and the resulting game lead the pair on a strange adventure where reality and their actions are impossible to determine from either their own or the game's perspective. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Where does reality stop... And the game begin? See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sci-fi violence and gore, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | UK | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 April 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Existenz See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD 31,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£362,864 (United Kingdom), 2 May 1999, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$810,262, 25 April 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,840,417, 20 June 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (workprint)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Allegra may be a reference to a minor character of the same name in Samuel R. Delany's novella "The Star Pit". In that novella, Allegra is a child prodigy able to telepathically project any type of reality she wishes on anyone around her. See more »

Goofs

When Pikul is extracting the tooth from Allegra's shoulder, the sleeve of her top is rolled down. In the next shot after it comes out, her shoulder is covered again, but Pikul's hand resting on it hasn't moved. (There are deliberate costume discontinuities in this movie, when the characters shift in and out of eXistenZ, but this isn't one of them.) See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Seminar Leader: eXistenZ. Written like this. One word. Small 'E', capital 'X', capital 'Z'. 'eXistenZ'. It's new, it's from Antenna Research, and it's here... right now.
See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Fictional Video Games in Movies (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

"Death to the demon The Matrix!"
14 July 2001 | by InfofreakSee all my reviews

'eXistenZ' sorts out the men from the boys. That is, your reaction to this marvellous movie will depend whether you are S.F. literate and familiar with Cronenberg's oeuvre, or a 'Matrix'-loving, Johnny-come-lately. Now I enjoy 'The Matrix' as a superior action movie, but no movie in recent years has been so overrated, and grossly exaggerated as intellectual fare! 'eXistenZ' and Alex Proyas' similarly overlooked 'Dark City' are everything 'The Matrix' claims to be - intelligent, thought provoking, CHALLENGING S.F.

This movie is almost a summary of all the themes and motifs that Cronenberg has been obsessed about for the last 25 years or so. Especially the Burroughsian "biological horror" and the Phildickian questioning of reality. While it echoes many of his previous movies, it especially evokes his masterpiece 'Videodrome'. It may not reach the hallucinogenic heights of that movie - very few have - but it certainly takes you to places most contemporary S.F. and horror movies don't even try to reach.

However this movie isn't just Cronenberg rehashing his "greatest hits". There are more than enough new and interesting touches, especially the Rushdie-like Fatwah theme, the odd sexual symbolism, and the witty touches such as the bone guns that fire teeth. Helping all this along is the interesting, carefully chosen cast. All are good, but I especially like Willem Dafoe's creepy garage mechanic, and it was also great to see Canadian cult star Don McKellar ('Highway 61', 'Twitch City',etc) as the enigmatic "Russian" Yevgeny.

'Videodrome' has taken many years to find its real audience, and maybe 'eXistenz' will too. But I believe eventually it will be recognised for what it is - a work of great imagination and flair.


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